Kim Monroe was lucky enough to catch up with Kevin Martin of Candlebox at The Neptune as they wrapped up their Disappearing in Airports Tour. Find out about the band meeting Madonna, what they have been up to over the past couple years and a bit of info about the album they are just settling down to record. Check out the video above or read the interview below*.
Kim: Hey it’s Kim Monroe from the new Rock 98.9 and I’m joined by an old dear friend or dear old friend. I don’t want to age us. It’s terrible. Kevin …
Kevin: The thirties are tough I’m telling you. I don’t know how everybody’s doing it.
Kim: Oh, you’re thirty now? I’m still twenty-nine. I have been for a really long time.
Kevin: That’s a good age. You look good for twenty-nine.
Kim: Why thank you. You look good for thirty-one.
Kevin: Yeah, there you go.
Kim: Kevin Martin from Candlebox, so good to see you.
Kevin: It’s nice to be with you.
Kim: Kind of in your hometown, but not really where you live anymore, huh?
Kevin: No, I’m an L.A. boy now. I left in ’98 and yeah you know. Listen, I’ve been trying to leave since I went there. But my family’s still here and so many great friends still live in Seattle. It’s always … This is home. This is where we started you know. Here we are in the Neptune and sold out show. I can’t complain.
Kim: I know right? It’s only been what, what were we talking, twenty-five years you’ve been…It’s been a long ride.
Kevin: Yeah it’s been a beautiful ride, to quote Dewey Cox.
Kim: Right? Most of the time anyway.
Kevin: Yeah there’s some pain along the way, but you know that’s what makes you who you are.
Kim: Right, right. I know back in the day, I always wanted to ask you and I don’t think I ever did. I’m not going to bring up any of the dirt nonsense with Maverick, but did you ever get to meet Madonna?
Kevin: We did. After about a year and a half, we finally met her when she took us to dinner in New York. We were playing with Rush. We were touring with them and we were doing Madison Square Garden, which happened to be in her neck of the woods of course. She took us to a really shitty Italian restaurant.
Kevin: Yeah, which was great. I’m like, “You take us to Sfuzzi? Like really, we’re in New York. You can take us anywhere and you take us to Sfuzzi.”
Kim: Well she’s Italian, what do you expect?
Kevin: Kind of Italian I suppose.
Kim: Exactly. Bring us up to speed. What have you been doing over the past few years? I know there’s been some downtime, at least with Candlebox. Kind of required downtime, not by your choice. So what have you been doing?
Kevin: You know making music. Even when I wasn’t able to do it with Candlebox, I did the Kevin Martin the Hiwatts Record and we toured on that for a few years. We were able to tour Europe with them in 2005 and then in 2006 Rhino contacted me and said, “We’re doing a Best of Candlebox and you’re out of your deal with Maverick and we’d like you guys to pick the songs.” So we did that and that spurred the band being able to go back out on the road together, which was great. We did that for a year. Then Barty left in 2007 and it was just Pete and Scott and I with Adam on bass and still here three records later still paying the rent. I really have no complaints. It’s a good gig.
Kim: Right? It’s a good gig if you can get it and keep it and still make money at it, which is kind of a nice thing. Talk a little bit about the new record Disappearing in Airports, which is really amazing. I was pretty excited when I first heard it. I was like, “Oh okay Candlebox, yeah okay. Wow!” I also have to pay you high compliment, you’re voice still just amazing.
Kevin: Disappearing in Airports was a record that I think like you said, “Okay Candlebox,” I think people they got that way towards after Happy Pills, because even though Into the Sun and Love Stories, in my opinion, are really good records for us, I think we had lost such an audience from that momentum of the early nineties and into the two thousands. It’s always been kind of like, “Oh yeah we’ll buy it. I’m a fan.” This record somehow we tapped into something that we hadn’t tapped into since 1991. There’s an energy to it and a relentlessness to it and an urgency and a conviction and everything about this record, all the songs, the playing, just the musicality of it, which is something I had always fought for with Candlebox, but wasn’t really ever able to attain. Somehow with this lineup it just connected and we made the record in twelve days. We did drums and bass in four and guitar overdubs in two, and vocals in six.
Kim: Wow. That’s fast. Where did you do the record?
Kevin: We did it in Pennsylvania. The guys from Live have a great studio out there called Think Loud Studios and they let us use it for free, which is amazing of them. It’s a beautiful studio. You live there. It’s a live workspace, which is amazing, because it’s very productive that way. You’re not having to drive home after every show. You get to be there and really work hard at it. That’s what we did.
Kim: I could see that as a blessing and a curse. It would be great, because you can get into the wee hours and then crash out. You can actually sleep in a bed instead of on a sofa or something like that. But work is always right there staring you in the face.
Kevin: It is, but I think that when you’re in that position where you’re hungry for it, it doesn’t matter. You can always take a nap if somebody’s doing guitar overdubs. You get that one hour in, whatever you need. It was a really surprisingly easy, interesting record for us to make. I just hope the next couple records for us go the same way, because it was really…I had no idea you could have that much fun making an album. Even though our first record was a blast and all this stuff, nowadays we’re twenty-five years later, that you can pop in the studio and really enjoy yourself in the process of doing it and it comes to you that quickly. It’s just great.
Kim: That’s pretty cool. Tell me about this lineup that you have with you now.
Kevin: We have Dave Krusen on drums, who joined us in ’96. Of course, everybody knows who Dave is. Adam who’s been with us since 2007. Actually Adam, our bass player’s been playing with me since 2000 with the Hiwatts and stuff, so one of my best friends. I adore him. Then Mike and Brian, the two new guitar players. Mike’s from Detroit and Brian’s from Philly. Two entirely different players. One’s Jimmy Hendrix and the other one’s Randy Rhoads. That combination just somehow works.
Kim: How’d you find these two guys?
Kevin: I had met Brian years ago. He was playing in a band called Foster Child that was signed to the same label we were signed to out of Florida silent majority group. We became great friends. That was like 2008. Then Mike I met about three years ago. I stumbled into a bar in Detroit and saw him playing and said, “This kid’s amazing.” Met some friends at dinner and then a year later I was like, “I need a guitar player”. I called this friend of mine in Detroit and he was like, “Oh that’s Mike Leslie. I have his number.” That was it.
Kim: Really? That’s very cool. You all sounded pretty sweet there together.
Kevin: Like we know what we’re doing?
Kim: Yeah kind of sounded pretty good. I have to again give props to the fact that just busted out a Mother Love Bone song during sound check. I’m glad I have a pacemaker, because my heart stopped. It was amazing. I can’t wait. So you’re going to do that tonight?
Kevin: Yeah we’re doing that. That’s the encore song. We’ve got some friends playing it with us and hopefully I can get Ty up there to sing it with me as well. It’s all Seattle.
Kim: Right, right. Who are some of your guests coming tonight?
Kevin: We have Shawn Zellar, who’s Jeff Angel friend and we’ve known Shawn for a couple years. Jeff’s going to get up to jam with us, which . See if I can’t finagle Regan Hagar to get up there and do something with us as well. Ty Wilmer from of course Great Fame is going to come up and sing with us as well. Barty’s getting up to play a couple songs with us and he hasn’t played with us for a few years, so that’s going to be fun.
Kim: What’s he doing these days?
Kevin: He’s an attorney. I think he’s an offense attorney, so if you ever get in trouble I’ll give you his number.
Kim: Good to know. Make sure and give me his number later.
Kevin: He’s good. He hasn’t been playing music and I was like, “I know you haven’t been doing anything. You need to come down and jam with us”.
Kim: That’s fantastic. Are you excited to see some old friends and family coming tonight too?
Kevin: Of course. My entire family is going to be there.
Kim: You’ll be like the belle of the ball tonight.
Kevin: The guest list is like, keeps …
Kim: I know right? It’s like, “Are we making any money tonight?”
Kevin: No. “You got me on the list? No, tickets are twenty-five dollars.”
Kim: Exactly. “Can you loan me twenty-five dollars Uncle Kevin please?”
Kim: Because you know that’s coming. How long are you on the road now for?
Kevin: We finish up on Tuesday in Los Angeles. That will be our full year in the states. We head to Europe in January and then no real plans next year except for fairs and festivals. We’re going to get a new record out. South America I think in July. Santiago, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Medellin and Lima and maybe Mexico City, so that will be in July/August. Then probably do some stateside stuff in the Fall with the record coming out and stuff, so I really don’t know, but this is the last kind of hoorah for the west coast and for the year-long tour.
Kim: Gotcha. Do you have a bunch of songs done and ready to go for another record? Written?
Kevin: We didn’t do that on this last record, so I didn’t focus that way this time as well.
Kim: Oh, good for you.
Kevin: We had four things that were in working order and the rest was written in the studio. Right now we have three songs that are in working order and about seventeen bits and pieces of ideas. We’ll probably do the same thing and just go into the studio and tap into it.
Kim: If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Twelve days, so the next one will be ten days, right?
Kevin: No, but I mean, hopefully twelve. Hopefully, it’s quick.
Kim: Good good. Kevin thank you so much for taking some time out of your family life and your busy schedule today. I’m so excited for the show tonight.
Kevin: It’s so great to see you again.
* This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity